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NASA Orion crew exploration vehicle (updates)

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malenfant    26

It's always nice to see a Delta Heavy fly, but otherwise... Orion, SLS. I just cant stop thinking about the lost opportunity cost. And for what? And to where? For no reason -except $$$$$ spent -and nowhere worth going to at that cost, and maybe not at all.

Economies and budgets in decline everywhere, resources squandered, time wasted...

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DocM    16,486

SpaceX has a manifest whose value is approaching $6B, and of that $1.6B is NASA for Cargo Resupply Services.

Commercial Crew launch contracts won't be added for 2 more years, and any use of NASA facilities not a part ofCommercial Cargo or Crew is on SpaceX's dime. This includes their cargo fairing, Falcon 9 v1.1, Falcon Heavy and the F9R reusability developments.

SpaceX also paid to upgrade a stand at NASA Stennis for testing the Raptor Mars engine, and it's components have been tested since late May. That train is leaving the station a lot sooner than most people think, and certainly sooner than 2030.

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AnotherITguy    159

The biggest issue with SLS I find is that, the senate is hellbent on giving back the Michoud facilities and anyone else who lost their job at the Space Shuttle's retirement their job back, which is nice... But... The SSMEs are shall we say this, old, like pre 1980's old. The SRBs I happen to have a bit of beef with using Solid fuel, as opposed to using liquid fueled engines which can be shut down in case of an emergency. Docm please chime in if I am straying off topic too much. But for pete's sake, SLS is tax payer dollars going to waste imh. You figure, they are going to wait till 2018 to shoot Serial # 1 of SLS because of NASAs laughable budget... Like Docm and previous poster quipped, Spacex will be running a taxi service to the moon before 2018.

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DocM    16,486

The old Shuttle SSME's (RS-25) will only be used on the first few SLS flights, IIRC they only have 12, then they need a new engine which hasn't been chosen yet. They could re-start the RS-25 line and produce new expendable versions, or use another engine. Either will be very expensive.

Then there is the SLS upper stage kettle of worms.

NASA spent $billions upgrading Saturn V's J-2 upper stage engine to the J-2X then shelved it. Sound familiar? Now they're using 4 RL10C-1's, whose heritage dates to 1962, in a totally new Exploration Upper Stage. This while simultaneously searching for an RL10 replacement in the EELV Centaur upper stages.

/sigh....

With SpaceX's fracking bloody huge Raptor engine components already on a test stand at NASA Stennis it's not too big a reach that their BFR launcher will fly years before the upgraded (non RS-25) SLS does.

BFR makes SLS look small, with very good reasons to believe it'll be a 12.5 to 15 meter wide core vs. SLS's 8.4 meters. They'll need those big tanks to feed 9(!) Raptors and still keep the BFR under 400 feet tall.

NASA should save some major bucks and use BFR, but the Lockheed/Boeing lobby has too much influence in the Senate regardless of what party's in control.

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AnotherITguy    159

So essentially Docm, the SLS is doa... These guys hoarded 12 motors for the first few flights, and then... oh wait, there are no more engines...  Also, if I may ask isn't the RL10 also part of the DELTA IV Upper stage?

 

Also, 12 motors, which means if they pin 4 of these things, they are looking at 3 flights until its game over, 5 like the ARES V design and well. its going to be a shorter ride until they run out of SSMEs

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AnotherITguy    159

Answered my own question, its part of the DELTA IV as well

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DocM    16,486

The RL10 is used in both the Atlas V Centaur upper stage (1 or 2 engines) and the Delta IV DCSS (Delta Cryogenic Second Stage).

Atlas V may be scrapped because of the Russian engine deal. ULA and Blue Origin are working on a methane fueled EELV using the latters BE-4 in the first stage and the smaller BE-3 in the second stage.

It would have more first stage thrust and a better first stage Isp than Atlas V, which could eliminate solid boosters for most launches.

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AnotherITguy    159

Hey Docm, what would SpaceX have to do to to Human rate the Falcon 9 v 1.1.?

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Beittil    573

For the rocket itself, not much if anything at all. They need a pad with human rated infrastructure though... and of course Dragon v2 certified :P

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DocM    16,486

Hey Docm, what would SpaceX have to do to to Human rate the Falcon 9 v 1.1.?

Falcon 9 v1.1/F9R was designed as a human rated launcher, so physically it already is. The main difference would be a software upload to reduce G loads the crew is exposed to and avoid maneuvers that would make aborts difficult (aka "black zones".)

It actually goes goes beyond the usual human ratings because it has engine-out capability. Engine-out for Falcon 9 v1.1 means there is armor plate and fireproofing between its 9 engines, so if one or two fail catastrophically the others are protected and can simply throttle up to continue the mission.

Having the 9 engine layout means losing one only reduces thrust by 11% instead of 50% like Antares. Such a single engine failure with Falcon 9 wouldn't end the mission

This has actually been used during a CRS flight of Falcon 9 v1.0, which also had engine-out. The fuel dome of its #5 engine let go so the computers shut its systems off, burned the remaining 8 engines longer to compensate (it's engines weren't throttleable), and Dragon got to ISS 30 minutes early.

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AnotherITguy    159

Thanks you guys, for clearing that out. So I take it the next step for SPACEX would be to go through the battery of tests to certify DRAGON 2.0 as human rated, are there any timelines for said work to commence?

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flyingskippy    167

Falcon 9 was built from the start to be human rated. Once the dragon 2 completes the pad abort and in flight abort tests, the booster is good to go.

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flyingskippy    167

Pad abort should happen really soon. Last date thrown around was November so either December or January I would say.

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DocM    16,486

Most likely January given all the effort and the delay caused by getting Dragon CRS-5 reconfigured to haul up duplicates of critical cargo lost in the Antares explosion.

The pad abort test involves a temporary platform attachment for LC-40's TEL (transporter erector launcher) that'll raise Dragon 2 to its launch height. It also provides the operational data lines and stage 2 mechanical and fluid attachments. It's been mounted to the TEL and tested, so after CRS-5 they'll re-mount it and prep for the pad abort.

It's also VERY likely Falcon 9 will launch 2 Cygnus CRS missions while Orbital qualifies different engines for Antares. Most likely the RD-193, a derivation of the RD-191 used in Angara. It's a drop-replacement for Antares NK-33.

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bguy_1986    354

Most likely January given all the effort and the delay caused by getting Dragon CRS-5 reconfigured to haul up duplicates of critical cargo lost in the Antares explosion.

The pad abort test involves a temporary platform attachment for LC-40's TEL (transporter erector launcher) that'll raise Dragon 2 to its launch height. It also provides the operational data lines and stage 2 mechanical and fluid attachments. It's been mounted to the TEL and tested, so after CRS-5 they'll re-mount it and prep for the pad abort.

It's also VERY likely Falcon 9 will launch 2 Cygnus CRS missions while Orbital qualifies different engines for Antares. Most likely the RD-193, a derivation of the RD-191 used in Angara. It's a drop-replacement for Antares NK-33.

Will they fly the Cygnus capsule up or will they just use a Dragon capsule since it's already fitted to go on a Falcon 9?

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DocM    16,486

They'll fly an improved Cygnus spacecraft. The Cygnus uses interfaces that are very similar to other Orbital built satellites F9 has launched and the companies have worked well together.

The improvement consists of adding container segments which make it longer, and also making it possible to use Cygnus as a crew mission habitat for Orion, Dragon 2 or CST-100 during long duration flights.

For Dragon 2 the theory is a Cygnus could be mounted to the F9 upper stage but inside a Dragon 2 stretched Trunk. Dragon and the Trunk would separate, turn around, dock with and move away with the Cygnus much as Apollo did with the LEM.

Cygnus-Congigurations.jpg

cst100_cygnus_bkgtest2.jpg

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DocM    16,486

Thanks you guys, for clearing that out. So I take it the next step for SPACEX would be to go through the battery of tests to certify DRAGON 2.0 as human rated, are there any timelines for said work to commence?

Pad abort around January 2015 as discussed, an in-flight abort test spring/summer 2015 at Vandenberg, and a full up orbital test in early/mid 2016. SpaceX believes a crewed test could happen later in 2016, but NASA may not have the funding.

SpaceX may fly a crew in 2016 on their own dime to put an exclamation point on things since CST-100 won't be ready until 2017.

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AnotherITguy    159

Sweet!  Keep up the news stream docm.

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

This whole topic is full of win. Keep up the good information flow, DocM. :yes:

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AnotherITguy    159

NASA announces that the RS-25 (aka: Space Shuttle Main engines) will be the permanent first stage propulsion, with AEROJET restarting the production of said motors, the motors are modified for SENATE LAUNCH SYSTEM, ehem, I mean Space launch system, and thus now called RS-25D

 

 

http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-conducts-1st-test-fire-shuttle-era-engine-123208742.html

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Beittil    573

Still to bad that in stead of reuse as with the Shuttle's they will each now be tossed after barely 3 minutes.

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DocM    16,486

Oopsie...

@jeff_foust

Bolden causally mentions first crewed SLS/Orion mission, EM-2, taking place

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SALSN    54

Wow, isn't that capsule going to be totally obsolete before it even flies? What exactly is this vehicle supposed to do, that can not be accomplished by Dragon1/2 or CST100? Or even the Dream chaser for that matter?

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